5 best hand creams for nurses

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Hand washing, hand washing, hand washing! Sound familiar? If you’re like me, your hands probably look as if someone has taken a piece of sandpaper and massaged your skin with it! Ouch!

The continual hand washing we nurses do can take quite the toll on our hands and skin. Here are a few of my favorite hand moisturizers and lotions to help repair dry and cracked hands.

1) Eucerin Hand Cream

I always love to use Eucerin during the winter months. This lotion feels great on the hands without having that really greasy feel afterwards. The best part about this product is that it works great for dry skin on babies. I actually tried Eucerin for the first time after it was used on my son in the local children’s hospital.

2) Vaseline Intensive Care

This is what I call “The Old Stand By.” Vaseline products have been around for years and I think that speaks volumes when it comes to product reliability.  I like this lotion because it is inexpensive for a large pump size and a little bit goes a long way. This product is good for maintaining healthy skin and nails.  This lotion also has a nice, but light fragrance.

3) Neutrogena Norwegian Formula

This is a great lotion that in my opinion, penetrates really well into the skin.  By this, I mean that after I wash my hands, I still feel as if they are somewhat moisturized and that I haven’t washed off all the lotion that I applied. I really like this for when my hands are feeling chapped and sore after a day at the hospital.

4) Philosophy Pure Grace Lotion

This lotion is one of my favorites. I first saw the Philosophy products on one of Oprah’s Favorite Things episodes a few years back.  Not only does this lotion feel wonderful on my hands, but it smells amazing! I know we really shouldn’t use “smelly” fragrances in the hospital, but this has a nice clean scent. By no means does it smell like a perfume. This lotion is a little pricier than the others, but it is a nice treat for your hands. While the other products can be found at local drug stores, Philosophy Pure Grace can be found at Macy’s and Ulta.

5) Johnson’s Baby Lotion

Who doesn’t love the smell of a clean baby? If it is gentle enough for our babies it must be good for our hands right? With its trademark pink bottle and baby powder scent, there is just something about Johnson’s Baby Lotion that is both nostalgic and sweet.

What are your favorite hand lotions?

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Megan Gilbert

My name is Megan Gilbert. I am a 29-year-old third year nursing student at Purdue University Calumet. I have been married to my wonderful husband Scott for eight years and we have two beautiful boys; Reece and Mason. We currently reside in Northwest Indiana in the town of Schererville, which is about 40 minutes outside of Chicago. I love spending quality time with my family and l also enjoy singing with my local church. In addition, one of my favorite things to do in my down-time is blog and read blogs.

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47 Responses to 5 best hand creams for nurses

  1. Sean Dent

    I guess it comes down to the moisturizers I use at work vs. at home. A great tip from an occupational therapist was to be sure you wet your hands before you apply the soap/cleaner when washing your hands. Also using moisturizer during the process of washing your hands always helped me.
    I really hate cracked hands/fingers – boy do they sting.

    • Siri

      I totally agree with you Sean. I get the worst cracks on the thumbs and index fingers. They hurt so bad. My mom scent me some unscented cream she found in Washington while she was on Vac. I love it. Actually, clears up the cracks in no time. Also, no alchol in it so it does not sting. Not sure where she got it, but they do have a listing on Amazon. It absorbs and does not remain slick in my gloves. The whole floor is loving it and most of my jar is gone. You should look at it may help. Purely Northwest Winter Cream. Also, it is really unscented not like some that say they are and aren’t. Good luck. Siri

  2. Vitamin E oil put on at night before bed with a pair of cotton gloves over them, is another treatment for this problem.

  3. Katy

    Gloves in a Bottle is my favorite while at work – the barrier on it doesn’t break down quickly, so you can wash your hands without stripping them of moisture. At home, I’m a big fan of your #3 :)

  4. Marsha

    The best hand cream that I have ever used is Lotil, from England. I bought a jar from Amazon after a nurse let me try hers. Works great!

  5. Marilyn

    Please watch the lotions that you use at work because you may not get the protection from the gloves that you should. Some lotions break down the proteins in the gloves setting us up for poor protection from the gloves. You may want to check with your infection control department or wound care nurses because that is where I learned this from.

  6. How in the world can your hands become dryed out and damaged if you use wet water to wash them? Makes zero sence to me.

    • Nurse Rene

      Same reason that licking chapped lips won’t help them to heal up. The SOAP is the culprit, not the water. Lotions help to restore the acid/base balance of the skin and fill in any tiny cracks. Products such as Gloves in a bottle contain a silicone compound which helps the skin to hold in moisture.
      Also, not many gloves are made of latex and its protein anymore. Not only because of latex allergies but also because rubber trees are dying off, being cut down, etc. and making gloves from a manmade material is cheaper.

      • Siri

        I have not found a hand soap that does not break down my skin, plus we wash our hands 50 times a day…At home I do put the winter cream I mentioned above on my hands while they are still damp, locks in the moisture and helps.

  7. Pat

    Nexcare (by 3M) skin crack care is a must for those painful splits and cracks, Apply it like nail polish (it contains tea tree oil) It protects and helps heal your skin (I know it’s sold at Walgreens $7-8/ definitely worth it!) CeraVe lotion and Lubriderm work well.

  8. Victor

    These are all great, but I SWEAR by Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. I love it and I don’t even mind spending the extra money. I use the cream and the face wash and it is AWESOME!!!

  9. Chanda

    Burt;s Bee’s Hand Repair Creme. It’s smell isnt the sweetest but I swear by the stuff and it’s all natural!

  10. Natascha

    Renew Intensive Skin Therapy from Melaleuca works for me…..it’s great for those with psoriasis too!

    • admartindale


      I agree with you about the Renew Intensive Skin Therapy from Melaleuca….the best lotion ever!!! I carry with me everywhere I go and I have stock in my locker at work.

  11. Jessica

    L’Occitane’s 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream for dry skin is amazing!

  12. Lois Darr

    My favorite is “Look Ma New Hands” . Works great even on well worn “mature nurse’s hands.

  13. Antonia Steven

    Check out my hand cream that I have designed and developed for hard working nurses hands. Find out more and visit http://www.yesnurse.co.uk

  14. Susan

    Zim’s Crack Creme (don’t laugh, that really IS the name) is terrific. I was given some samples at an equine fair and have been a fan ever since. I rub it into those painful cracks I occasionally get on my fingers while I’m driving home and the next day it’s gone. If you can’t find it, look online. It’s worth the effort.

  15. Gail

    Avon’s Silicone Glove hand cream is the best!

  16. Ranay

    Elizabeth Arden “Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant” is Awesome to use at night with cotton gloves if you have them, if you don’t that is okay too! This stuff Works! The smell….ah, not the worst :) but works!!!! To greasy for daytime, Very healing at night for the next day. At work Jergens Ultra healing (I keep a bottle by the soap) the big bottle is cost effective, the product is hydrating, the scent is fresh and light.

  17. Arlene

    My Dermatologist recommended Cera V lotion and Cera V pm for night use on face and hands.. Works great for me.

  18. KjnQnRN

    I agree with Ranay. My favorite hand cream is Avon’s Silicone Glove!

  19. KjnQnRN

    Oops! I looked at the wrong line. I meant Gail. I agree with Gail’s choice of Avon’s Silicone Glove!

  20. Parker RN

    Gold Bonds Ultimate Soothing Fragrance Free is something I would swear by at home, or at work. It is not oily at all, and it works GREAT!!!

  21. ymeg26

    I would suggest a new product on the market; a moisturizing glove under the brand Protecderm. It’s an intense moisturizer imprinted inside of the glove.Just need to wear the gloves for 15 to 30 minutes and the moisturizer penetrate in the deeper layer of your empidermis to restaure the natural skin balance… Even if you wash your hands it remains active for over 8 hours after you wore the gloves. It’s a brillant technology… see their website http://www.protecderm.com
    This is the future!!!

  22. Argy

    Avon’s Moisture Therapy. My hands are extremely sensitive and it always helps them heal. It feels greasy at first but it quickly dissolves into the skin.

  23. sammantha

    I really like Avons Moisture Therapy… It feels wonderful and lasts through several hand washings. I discovered it after my fingers started cracking when I was scrubbing for surgery several times a day. Plus you can catch it on sale for $1.99!!! Beats the heck out of $10.00 a bottle when I use it so often!

  24. raleighlynn

    I love Gold Bond Healing Cream. It feels so good on my chapped hands! Another thing I do is burn a soy candle and use the melted wax as a moisturizer. Sounds odd, but it works so well. I use a Diamond Candle (scentless). The wax doesn’t get as hot as paraffin wax and has a wonderful texture. I’m 56 years old now so I have to bring out the big guns to save my hands!

  25. RNCCRN9706

    My coworker and I like Udderly Smooth Udder cream! It’s super cheap, has a nice light scent to it and also has lanolin in it. A big tub is under $4 at Walmart. Tubes are $3 at other drugstores.

  26. I have been Nursing for 48½ years & have NEVER used any hand creams or felt the need to do so. I agree though, that Scrub Nurses need to use hand cream to protect & nourish their skin.
    The first hint I give all student Nurses I work with, is to ALWAYS DRY their hands completely EVERY TIME they wash their hands. The other useful thing you can do while drying your hands properly, is to use the extra few seconds to think about what you are going to do next & even to make a short list in your head of equipment you are going to use.
    No one will ever tell you off for washing your hands.
    NZ Nurse – now an International Volunteer Health Worker.

  27. JessicaKarina

    Cera-V works great! a dermatologist recommended it to me…also she’s my cousin lol

    • Medline Remedy Skin Repair Cream – more dimethicone than gloves in a bottle. Has fat and water soluble vitamin C, vit A, Vit D, and a slew of amino acids in a base that includes Aloe. A dime size portion actually lasts almmmmmmmmost all the way through a shift

  28. vheishman


  29. roni65gt

    I use Eucerin cream, but about once a week I use Bagbalm- it is wonderful stuff, I put it on my hands and feet when I go to bed.

  30. RNDeb67470

    Gold Bond has a wonderful moisturizing hand cream that is also a Hand Sanitizer. Comes in regular scent and citrus. I carry a couple in my bag and in my purse. I love it and so do my co-workers.

  31. Chelyse

    Burts bee’s milk and almond cream. Comes in a little glass jar….AWESOME stuff!

  32. Cara

    Great article! I designed a hand cream designed specifically for repeated hand washing, and I have been making it for 8 years and nurses really love it. It is fast-absorbing, long-lasting, and freshly handcrafted in the USA. You can find it at http://www.CaraMaeSkinCare.com. Feel free to email me for a sample. Best wishes and thank you for all of the hard work that your hands do!

    • Cara

      Hi awesome nurses!
      I have had a great response for free samples. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to keep giving them out. However, a jar (6 month supply of my lotion) is only $14.95 and it it 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Order at http://www.CaraMaeSkinCare.com. You can email me with questions and for testimonials from other nurses. I hope you will give me the opportunity to help your hands!

  33. Mom2DandJ

    My favorite is Hoofmaker and Wound Cream by Straight Arrow.
    It also is antimicrobial. Doesn’t leave a greasy residue and you can put gloves on right after applying.

  34. Granny RN

    Another ‘oldie but goodie’: Silicone Glove by AVON.
    For a nice light ‘scrub’ to smooth hands-even in winter- BEFORE putting on hand cream- mix olive oil with Kosher salt and gently rub on hands. Rinse and then apply hand cream of choice and sleep in cotton gloves.

  35. Dry Skin Cream

    The best one I have used is the ‘Winter Cream” from Purely Northwest. It is all natural and is loaded with nutrient rich oils and extracts. They sell it on amazon, you can check out the ingrediants in their body cream here http://www.amazon.com/Purely-Nothwest-Dry-Skin-Cream/dp/B00AR1FU20/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358487396&sr=8-2&keywords=purely+northwest Does wonders on my hands, also use it on my face when my skin dries out in the winter

  36. holdbcaul4

    This is so random but another amazing all natural hand conditioner is this stuff I’ve been using for crossfit – Monkey Hands. I had to buy it online. Ever since I’m hooked and my hands have never felt better. It’s made by a company called Urban Vitals. Just thought I’d share.

    Great recommendations. Thank you.

  37. ealgava

    I use Dermud hand cream by Ahava from Israel. It has minerals from the Dead Sea. The Dermud collection is for severely dry skin.

  38. mmckemey

    One of the best hand creams I have used, and I have used many, is called Hands. It’s from a company called Awakening. I use to tell people I was alergic to winter because that is when my hands tend to be the most dried out. I have tried many other brands including all the ones listed in the original article, but hands is the one that has worked the best. Also it has a very pleasent smell, not overpowering, just slightly cinnamon-ish.

  39. Fairy9

    Athos Miracle Cream is the one for me. I used to battle chapped hands all year long with cracked bleeding knuckles in the winter and since I gave this stuff a chance, I’ve got the softest hands ever. It is quite thick so I prefer to rub it on my hands before going to bed. No chemicals, no alcohol, no fragrance. Just love it.

  40. Chelsea Sawyer

    I took a chance on the Lady Soma Skin and Nail Cream because I’m always looking for a solution to dry cracked fingers during the winter. I like this product because it does not leave residue and it has no odor. Other wise it performs the same work as shea butter, but just feels alot better.